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Gorgeous Lake District

Posted by Jan Bella on March 29, 2012 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been very busy few weeks since last post. Weather have been amazing through and I was constantly climbing outdoors. Lot of practice sessions and  checking new routes on Helm Crag. They should all be included in the new FRCC guide. Especially Illuminaty HVS is worth doing.

Few days were spent on Black crag above the Wrynose pass. Beautiful rough rock and south facing position gave days special feel. I managed to lead some HVSs but still only looking from the distance on those E1. I got another trip planned for so I'll give them a top rope ascent and see how they feel.

Black crag:

I had a good day on the Pavey Ark yesterday. We did four pitch Crescent Slabs Sev.  Then moved to the shade of Bright Beck Crag and checked less traveled routes on there. Great routes on a roughest slab ever just a shame there wasn't much protection avaiable. 

Susan leading first two pitches on the Crescent Slabs:

Susan toproping the Walk on Sunshine on Bright Back Crag:

Thursday we went to the Black crag and Long Scar again. Quiet few routes got done with some practice for SPA. I led the Ann's Agony HVS and toproped the Glass Slipper E2 5b and Sleep On My Pillow E1 5b. Think I'll be going for a lead on that one next time around. 

Crack of Ann's Agony and face is the Glass Slipper:

Little Chamonix

Posted by Jan Bella on March 7, 2012 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Little Chamonix 

This justifiably popular route has been on my list for quiet a while but for some reason I never got to climb it. All of that changed on Monday when on my break from work we drove up and gave it a shot. Marek has led the route we had all for our self with just one party way infront of us. 

First pitch follows a crack and groove then you'll climb over the flake and onto a tree belay. Second pitch continues up the V shaped corner and what is probably one of the best moves on the rock where you need to sit down and slide  to get to a corner and onto a saddle belay. Top of second pitch has some of the best position in the Lakes in my opinion. Third pitch is slightly overhanging but easy to climb and route finishes on a large ledge with great views of the valley. 

here is the video, you can also view it in my "Video" section

top of the second pitch

Chapel Stile Circuit Bouldering

Posted by Jan Bella on February 26, 2012 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Chapel Stile Circuit Bouldering

After rise in temperature and snow thaw in the valley I changed winter boots for rock shoes and went to check out Chapel Stile Circuit in Langdale.

Early morning bike ride across the Red Bank gave me a sufficient warm up. Sun was shinning almost all morning and after little while I managed to find all the boulder problems I was after.

Good day of bouldering with 13 problems sent between grades of Vb to V3. Looks like winter training at the wall has paid off, especially with sending three V1's and on V3 for a first time ever. Looks like there is good things coming this way.

Here is a short video: 

and anouther session:

Upper Scout Crag Route 1

Posted by Jan Bella on February 15, 2012 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Langdale Boulders and Route 1 on Upper Scout Crag 

 I was properly psyched for todays bouldering session at Langdale Boulders. First I checked out alleged dry tooling marks and they are definitely there.

Crack on the top boulder has marks and chips on it. Needles to say it isn't a great sight. But let's not even go there...

Bouldering session didn't go well (not mine anyway) so me and Matt went to the Upper Scout Crag just down the road from the boulders. I had in mind easy multi pitch route – Route 1.  50 meters and HVD it was a nice treat for my cold and numb fingers after bouldering. 

Route starts just left of Yew tree and below a large Holly. First short pitch leads through slabby grooves to the base of the arête, where you can belay. I actually went little higher and belayed of one of the trees. Second pitch takes you over the block and to the right onto an arête. This is one of the best pitches of its grade in Langdale and is beautifully exposed. After few difficulties you can belay on one of the ledges. Route 1 it's a great easy route for those just starting out or as an introduction to multi pitch climbing. 

Langdale from Scout Crag on 15/02/12


Brown Cove Crags

Posted by Jan Bella on February 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Brown Cove Crags with Ben.


Is the winter really over in Lake District? Some snow on the approach from the Swiral car park, but mostly very wet. Little ice fall that is a start of Right Buttress Crack was melting away and didn't look very strong.

looking down from the top of the route:

We decided (I decided)  to do the Left Buttress route. At grade II and 160 meter long mix it seemed to be a good choice. I imagine it must be great easy climbing in good conditions and while there was plenty snow it was too wet. However we still enjoyed the route and this being first winter route Ben has ever done and with only walking axe I have to say he's done well! For those wanting to do the route wait for good snow pack and you 'll have a good time. There are good belay stations on the route and we have done it in 4 pitches last one being right back on the top arête.

Ben at the top of the route:

Me and Ben finished the day with walk to the top of Helvellyn. And one thing is for sure unless there is some more snow or freeze this winter season in Lakes will be over.

Jack's Rake

Posted by Jan Bella on February 3, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Starting at grade I - Jack's Rake on Pavey Ark.

Lakes got in to condition and there is no force in this world that would keep me indoors. After whole week of seeing photos of people doing amazing routes I was looking for a climbing partner for my days off. 

Jack's rake cuts the face from bottom right to top left.


I got email from Simon, through UKC website. So we met up in Ambleside on cold Thursday morning and headed for the Langdales. Route we planned to do was Jack's Rake on Pavey Ark. Grade I winter route and great summer scramble.

Start of the route


Walking up to the beginning of the route was as good as it gets with nice views over theLangdale valley. Looking up from the bottom of the climb we decided to climb unroped and only protect it if necessary. Climbing went really well. There is few short icy steps which didn't prove to be too much of a trouble but made route more interesting. Exposure which I was bit worried about wasn't too bad either and below a rocky step where the rake is cut by a gully it gets really interesting which might not be appreciated by those suffering from vertigo :). This rocky step was the only place I decided to rope up for, but it went really well at the end and didn't cause any troubles. Higher up route got easier with only one steeper section and few steps. From the end of the route we went to the top of Pavey Ark and then set of for a walk back to the car. Brilliant day out!

Simon startign out.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Posted by Jan Bella on January 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Visiting Himalayas was always my big dream. In the spring of 2011 I finally got opportunity and time off work to go. After few days spent in Kathmandu, Pokhora and Chitwan national park and after quick visit to Nepali hospital I was on the plane to Lukla. Lukla has one of the most dangerous airports in the world that is at the altitude of 2860 meters above the see level. Single 600 meters runway with no space for mistakes and brick wall on one side and deep deep valley on the other. Anyway. We landed, picked up bags and after meeting fellow French tourist we set off towards the Everest base camp.


 First day took me to Pakhding. Mostly down the hill and easy walking. Second day was a different story. Climbing up to Namche Bazaar was rather long day. However seeing Everest made me forget all the pains. Namche is main trading centre of the Khumbu at altitude of 3440 meters. Namche is first place where people usually take an acclimatization day and go up to Everest view hotel or Khumjung. Views from the Everest view hotel are one of the best in Khumbu. Ama Dablam on the right Lhotse-Nuptse ridge and Everest still bit shy looking at you from behind this massive ridge.

Ama Dablam


Few days later I arrived to Tengboche. In the village is important Buddhist monastery, which is largest gompa in Khumbu region.

Soon after leaving Tengboche whole surroundings change. We passed the tree line and the familiar looks of Ama Dablam has changed too. This was first time that down jacket came out as it's got quiet cold, even during the day. I took another acclimatization day here and went for a trek to about 5000 meters. Felt really good and was looking forward to moving higher up.​


After leaving Dengboche trail heads for Doughla and Labouje. Labouche sits on the bottom of the Khumbu glacier with great views of whole valley and Pumori. Everest base camp was only 2 days away. Next day I arrived at Gorak Shep. Last "village" in the valley with very simple accommodation. On the way we passed memorial site for climbers and Sherpas that lost their lives in Himalayas. During the night there was snow fall with about 15 centimetres of new snow. After 7 days I couldn't even be sure if we would be climbing Kala Pathar! At the end we did. Short 2 hour walk and we were at the summit at around 5600 meters with great views of Everest. I made it! Dream dreamt for years has become true. Great feeling. It took 8 days to get here and only three days to get back to Lukla. Great places with lots of interesting people made this trip perfect. Leaving Lukla was sad but hopefully I'll return one day.



White Ghyll

Posted by Jan Bella on January 16, 2012 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

It all started with a promise of climbing one of the R. J. Birketts classic routes. Slip Knot. A classic Lakeland VS taking excelent line up the slab then going left under the large roof and around onto the rib. Me and Matt met up at Grasmere and drove up to Langdale. From the car park White Ghyll towers about the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel. 30 minutes aproach left me rather breathless so I sat down and started to think about routes we could climb. 

Slip Knot was my first choice so I geared up as quickly as I could and was off. Climb starts in a corner and then moves onto the slab which provides plesant climbing at about grade 4b with plenty of protection. Top of first pitch is on the right side of the roof with nice views of Langdale valley. Matt quickly followed and we changed over on the belay. Famous part of Lakeland climbing was at the touch of my hands. I traversed under the roof and climbed on the rib. I 've done it! I've done Birkett's route. Short upper section was pretty easy and soon after Matt climbed up we were on our way back down.

On a same day we climbed the Hollin Grove route wich was little bit wet, but a nice climb and I managed to get lost on a top of second pitch on the White Ghyll wall. Hopefully this season I'll repeat this climb and add many more on  this great crag. 

Recent trip to Scotland

Posted by Jan Bella on January 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

   Everybody has heard how great is winter climbing in Scotland. Not everybody has tried it. Till about a week ago I was in this category too. Needles to say now I know the grass is greaner on other side or better to say there is much more snow and ice in Scotland than in Lake District.

   So I have booked myself onto an Ice climbing Improovers Course with Adventure Peaks. 5 days of ice climbing in High Lands.

   I have arrived in Fort William few days before the course was due to start, keen to do some walking and easy climbing. Plan was Number 3 gully and I set off early morning. Walking up to CIC hut from the Ben Nevis Inn car park took  me few hours of slow plot in the snow. Conditions weren't great but higher up it was getting progresively colder, so after quick look at the map and finding the gully i was off. Lots of fresh snow slowed me down even more. Climbing actual gully has been fun and since it's only Scottish grade 1 I felt fonfortable. Early into the climb I could see heavilly corniced top of the gully and knew there was no way of me climbing over the overhanging ice and snow. However I continued upward just to have a look up closer. Soon I found way out of the gully on it's left side where cornice was just vertical for few meters and solidly frozen so after few moments of terror I was on the summit plateau in a white out. It only took a whille to get to the top of Ben Nevis and there I was. First proper winter climb, first Munro and Highest Mountain in the UK all in one day. Yet only half way to my journey that day. Walking back to my hotel took few hours and at the end I have done roughly 18 Km in about 10 hours. Great day!


   Course started on Sunday evening. We met and stayed in the Onich Hotel. I could have hardly asked for better instructor as Paddy Cave introduced himself. Yeah I know Paddy Cave!!

   First day we were off to the Stob Coire non Lochan and after quick look what was in condition we agreed on the Dorsal Arete which is grade II. A Little in the heart of Bidean Nan Blan massif in Glencoe. Off we went rope lenght after rope lenght all the way to the beautiful but little short Arete. Then we took a route on the left for a last pitch wich started with pretty much drytooling at grade III. Brilliant climb with great location and great views. Much recomended.


   Second day we were travelling little north of Fort William and took on Ben Nevis. Confident after first day we tryed the Green gully which was grade IV. Climb was in great condition with about 3 steep steps of ice and some snowy slopes. Unfortunetally weather soon turned bad and we did almost all climb in minimum visibility, rain and with strong winds. Day went well and topping out on the plateau just added to it. We descended Number 4 gully and took easy walk down from the CIC hut. Saddly I have no photos from this day. 


 Third day weather was even worst and we decided on going to the Ice Factor for some movement coaching and technique improvments. Lots of great tips from Paddy and in few hours I was Climbing vertical and overhangign walls of ice. After that we had little bouldering and dry tooling session.


 Next day weather improved and again we aimed for the Ben. Open mind is the key so we didn't really planned anything and just went to see what was in on the day. As it went The Tower Ridge looked great and with Point five Gully missing a massive section of ice after recent thaw we were off. Moving in true mountaineering style and with pitching only few crucial pitches we took only 3.50 hour to complet this 600 meters grade IV route. It was fun! Moving fast we gathered high pretty quickly and views were amazing. I realized I prefere mixed ground to ice climbs and really enjoyed the day. Even my little epic on the Tower Gap where I find it really hard to comit to do the down climb. especially wearing crapmons and with tats covered in ice. After I found nice axe placement I finally moved and enjoyed the rest of the climb. Another great position on the ridge was The Eastern traverse. Exposure was the word of the moment,  but thanks to good snow cover traverse was pretty easy and very enjoyable. We topped out in great weather and even better views. Day slike this don't happen wery often is Scotland. 

   Last day of the course came by way too quickly. Another cold morning seen us going for another route on Ben. Pretty tired from previous days we decided on doing another 3 star route - Comb gully. Easy first 2 pitches at grade II were led by us and harder grade IV led by Paddy. Another Enyojable climb with some great positions and finally leading the pitch. Few ice steps got me working rather hard and periods of hot aches were very unconfortable.  

And how would I close up this week? Well you should go and try it. Great people, great climbs at great location. Tons of new things learned and I can say that great winter foundations and bit more were set. 

I can't wait for another Scottish trip and catching up with people I met. 

Lake District Rock Climbing

Posted by Jan Bella on January 15, 2012 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The English Lake District has unique oportunity for rock climbing from small road side crags to spectacular hight moutain crags. From easy grades to high Extreme climbs everybody can find the right climb. It all begun by ascending of the Napes Needle by W. P. Haskett in 1886 and since then it grew beyond imaginaion of any of the early pioneers. 

Most popular areas are Langdale and Borrowdale valley together with Wasdale and Dow area.

In this Blog I will introduce you more to different climbing areas and styles in Lake district and also to variety of techniques used in today's climbing.


Please stay tuned in and if you have any questionas dont hasitate to email me.


Regards Jan